Film fans of all sorts likely know the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock’s work very well . However, most have never had the opportunity to view his early silent works that shaped his influential “Hitchcockian” styles.
Columbus cinema-goers will get that opportunity this month, when the Wexner Center for the Arts presents “The Hitchcock 9,” a series of nine of Hitchcock’s earliest works between 1925 and 1929, restored by the British Film Institute. As part of the restoration, some of the classic films are set to be accompanied by live musicians.
The series is set to make its only stop in Ohio at the Wexner Center, running Thursday through Oct. 25.
“This is going to be a series that has a lot of appeal to both casual fans of Hitchcock and people who have seen all of his work,” said Jennifer Wray, the marketing and media assistant for the Wexner Center. “This is an opportunity to see works that you either have never seen before or never seen in this quality.”
In addition to enjoying the early cinematic classics, attendees for some of the showings will also have a chance to enjoy original accompaniment pieces by one of three Columbus musicians — Derek DiCenzo, Sue Harshe or Larry Marotta.
Harshe, whose music will be accompanying “The Farmer’s Wife” and “Champagne,” has worked for months on her compositions. She said she did not look for the scores originally accompanying the films, instead opting to attach her own interpretations to the tone of the scenes.
“I make sure the music doesn’t compete with the film,” Harshe said. “I stay away from sound effects because they are difficult to sync up.”
Harshe plans to play keyboard and guitar live and be accompanied by various recorded instrumentation, such as violin, wind instruments and distorted trombone.
Dave Filipi, director of Film/Video at the Wexner Center, said he has high hopes for the series.
“Expectations are high,” Filipi said. “Hitchcock is the most famous filmmaker who ever lived. His films hold up in a critical way while being extremely entertaining at the same time.”
He said attending the film showings is a good opportunity for students.
“Students should take advantage of this opportunity,” Filipi said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see films from early in Hitchcock’s career and to see what kind of a filmmaker he was earlier and how it created his later styles.”
Wray said she thinks the draw for the event is huge.
“I anticipate this being a popular event,” Wray said. “It’s something you can’t ever see anywhere else in the state of Ohio. Both the films and the quality of the musicians will make this a big draw.”
Tickets are $8 for the general public and $6 for students, members and senior citizens. The films are scheduled to be shown at the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Theater, which is located in the Wexner Center for the Arts at 1871 N. High St. The series kicks off with “Blackmail” (1929) Thursday at 7 p.m.